House Intelligence Committee member U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, said he is troubled by the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, declaring that he doesn’t think the president has committed an impeachable offense and suggesting the exercise is a “displacement of trust” taking away from governing on more important issues.
Appearing on Talk Business & Politics, the First District Congressman said the call summary released of Trump’s phone call with the Ukranian President – in which he discusses working with his personal attorney Rudy Guiliani and U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr to look into corruption charges against former Vice-president Joe Biden and his son, Hunter – is not worthy of an impeachment.
“I absolutely don’t think it’s an impeachable offense. I think that you have to take in the broadest context here. First off, I think you have to recognize too that the president voluntarily released the transcript of the conversations. So I think on the front end you have to acknowledge if he had anything to hide why would he have released the transcript?” Crawford said when asked if the president’s admitted actions in the call summary were an abuse of power or impeachable offense.
In the call summary of his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump said:
“I will ask him [Guiliani] to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great. The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that. The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”
“I think this unequivocally does not meet any threshold even close to an impeachable offense,” Crawford added. “Now, I mean we can talk about whether or not you think that was the appropriate thing for the president to do on that conversation. I’m not going to, I’m not going to, you know, defend any of that because it’s not my position to defend it. I’m asked if this is an impeachable offense, and the answer is ‘unequivocally no.'”
Crawford said the whistleblower complaint is also problematic from when it was received to how it is composed to its contents.
“The whistleblower complaint raises concerns on my perspective is that it’s being abused. The Whistleblower Act is there to protect whistleblowers from reprisal in the workplace when they bring a legitimate complaint to the fore. So Director Maguire said in the hearing yesterday that this was a credible complaint. It was credible in so far as it followed procedure. When you look at the substance of the complaint, however, it’s not credible because it doesn’t match the claims being made, the transcript does not match those claims,” Crawford said.
“That this is second-hand at best. Maybe even third-hand. And so read the thing in context and then read the footnotes. And also why is this prepared in this format? Why is this prepared like a legal document? Because probably it was prepared by an attorney or a law firm, that’s why. And that brings up even more questions about what’s the motivation here?” Crawford said.
Firmly against impeachment at this point, Crawford was asked if evidence could be introduced during the impeachment inquiry to sway his opinion.
“Well, I guess anything’s possible, but I’m thinking back about two years ago when you and I had a conversation similar to this. That’s how long we’ve been talking about impeachment. Impeachment conversation has been taking place since the evening of the election in 2016. That’s when the impeachment conversation started. So they’ve been looking at filing articles of impeachment with several blanks to fill in. Let’s go fill in the blanks. This is ridiculous. At some point in time, you know the American people expect us to go up there and govern. Not, you know, engage in a food fight,” he said.
“You don’t like president, I get it, okay? Live with it and then when 2020 rolls around mobilize your base and then you can act accordingly and you’ll have an opportunity to weigh in on the disposition of this president. But to take this kind of action and to spend, you know the amount of time that they’re spending on impeachment, is just a gross misuse of resources,” Crawford said.
You can watch his full interview below.